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Making friends seemingly gets harder as we age. As an adult, approaching someone you don’t really know and attempting to strike up a conversation can be quite intimidating.
So it’s no surprise that a lot of people struggle to make friends in community college. Still, we believe that creating those new bonds is possible.
In this article, I’ll give you nine valuable tips that will help you connect with the people at your school. But first, let’s talk about the challenges of making friends at a community college.
Why It’s Hard to Make Friends at Community College
We already touched on it above, but one of the reasons why it’s difficult to make new friends as an adult is because it can be a bit scary. But why does it feel that way?
It could be because you don’t want to embarrass yourself by approaching someone who isn’t interested in having a conversation.
Maybe it’s because you don’t want to seem like a bother. Or perhaps you’re having a tough time trying to connect with someone because you simply don’t know enough how to break the ice.
As kids, we can just be upfront and kind of say what we want to the people we want to befriend. Now that we’re a bit older, being that bold no longer comes naturally.
The very nature of community college could also be a contributing factor. Community colleges give students a taste of what it’s like to study at a four-year university. Some may even use their time at a community college as a stepping stone for their eventual transfer.
Attempting to form a friendship with new people when you may be leaving them in the relatively near future can seem like a fruitless endeavor.
You also have to remember that many community college students don’t stay in dorms. Instead, they make the commute home daily.
Because many students often have to rush home following school, you may not have the same opportunities to connect with them. In contrast, you have all kinds of time to get to know people better if you’re sharing a dorm with them.
One more possible explanation for why it’s difficult to make friends in community college is that students there may have other priorities.
Some of your fellow students may have a part-time job or they could have kids at home they need to watch over. It’s understandable that they would prioritize those matters ahead of forming new bonds at school.
9 Ways to Make Friends in Your Community College
Now that we’ve identified the potential obstacles that could be standing in the way of you making more friends in community college, let’s discuss some of the ways to overcome them. Please feel free to use the following tips yourself.
1. Don’t Be Afraid of Striking Up a Conversation
Of all the tips that we’ll discuss here, this may be the hardest one to follow.
Our brain is not something we can just manipulate easily. If we’re scared to do something, we can’t just get over that because we’re telling our minds to.
So, how can you overcome your fear of being embarrassed and strike up a conversation with a fellow student?
It helps to remember that the act of trying to make friends is not inherently embarrassing. Yes, being ignored can be a blow to the ego, but you didn’t do anything wrong.
You can also try to approach things with a more analytical mindset.
Consider the following scenario. If you try to talk to someone and you’re ignored, you can still move on with the rest of your day. If you attempt to start a conversation and they respond warmly to it, then you’ve gotten the ball rolling on a potential friendship.
There is minimal downside to trying to make a new friend while the upside of the move is tremendous. In other words, you have little to lose and so much to gain from taking this chance.
Sidenote: A few moments of discomfort is nothing compared to a lifetime of regret. If you need more reason to strike up that conversation, take a few minutes to watch this video about the top five regrets of the dying and learn how you can avoid them:
2. Find a Study Partner
I had a hard time with math back in college. Long division was a headache but I could still manage. The subject that really tripped me up was algebra.
It got so bad that I was frankly embarrassed by how poorly I was doing. The thought of letting one of my friends know just how much I was struggling was mortifying.
Throughout that time though, I couldn’t help but think of how easier things could be if I could just talk to someone about the troubles I was having.
College is not supposed to be easy, but getting through it can be more manageable if you have a study partner.
If someone in your class is struggling with the same subject you are, perhaps you can invite him/her to a study session. Approaching the professor for additional guidance may also be easier now that you have someone backing you up.
You can also pick up a study planner so that you and your new partner can get more organized as you attempt to tackle this confusing enemy. After all, few things can bring people closer together than struggling against a common foe.
3. Pick Up a Part-Time Job
This article from The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that only 15 percent of the students who attend community college earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.
Many students struggle to make the transition due to the culture shock they experience after moving to a four-year college and also because they didn’t receive enough guidance regarding which courses to take.
Another reason is because some students lack the money to complete their studies on time.
In an attempt to better their financial situation, many community college students will pick up part-time jobs.
Try finding a job yourself and see if you have classmates who are doing the same thing. You may receive additional chances to bond with them now that you can spend time together outside of class.
Getting a part-time job can also help you widen your social circle.
Previously, you may have only had opportunities to socialize with other students in your classes. You may start to see some new faces at your job though.
4. Work Out with a Partner
College work will occupy most of your day. Because of how all-consuming it can be, it’s easy to forget about other important matters. Your health, for one, is something you may start to neglect as you throw yourself fully into college life.
Needless to say, neglecting your health is a huge no-no. Finding yourself an exercise buddy will help encourage you to become more active.
So, how should you go about finding that exercise buddy?
You can start by heading over to your school’s gym or fitness center and try meeting new people there. If that doesn’t work, you can talk about exercising with a current acquaintance and see if he/she is open to joining you for a morning run.
Sometimes, people understand that they need to exercise but will still hold off on committing to it because they think it interferes too much with their schedule.
5. Try Out a New Hobby
Completing your coursework should take priority but if you’re focused on that alone, you could burn yourself out in a hurry. Taking the time to relax and have fun is a must if you want to remain mentally well as you deal with the rigors of community college.
With that in mind, why not try out a new hobby?
There may be a sport you’ve always been interested in playing. See if you can introduce some time for that into your schedule and give it a try. You may even find others who will be open to having you on their team.
Reading is also an enjoyable and beneficial hobby, especially for college students. Pay a visit to the library and check if there are other students into this hobby. If you see a fellow student reading a book you recognize, you now have a ready-made icebreaker.
Some schools may also invite authors to drop by and read from their latest works. If you recognize their name, make some time for the book reading and then check if there are familiar faces in the crowd. You can try talking to them about the book reading the day after.
If you're wondering what hobbies to try, these blog posts can give you some ideas:
- 45 Best Hobbies for Couples to Share Together
- 75 Hobbies for Women to Relax and Enjoy Life
- 101 Hobbies for Men to Add Happiness to Your Life
6. Join a Club That Focuses on a Hobby You Enjoy
Admittedly, trying to get into a new hobby when you’re also splitting time between college and your other commitments can be a tough ask.
Some people like to throw themselves fully into their hobbies. If they can’t research a hobby thoroughly, they may not develop a deep-rooted affection for it.
Since you may not be able to devote too much of your time to finding a new hobby, consider getting involved in one that has your interest already. Community colleges can offer clubs that focus on varying subjects.
Board game clubs are quite common on campuses. Look for one at your school and ask if you can join. Cooperative board games are particularly good for forming new bonds and strengthening the ties between old friends.
You don’t necessarily have to look for board game clubs. Music clubs, sports clubs, and clubs that are dedicated to serving the community are worth your time as well.
The point of joining a community college club is to find like-minded people who are passionate about the same thing. It’s easier to make friends in that kind of setting because you’ll always have something to discuss.
7. Attend School Events
Confession time: Early on into my college days, I wasn’t really the type of student who showed a lot of school spirit. It’s not because I didn’t like the college I chose. Honestly, it was more because I just thought it wasn’t a good use of my time.
Looking back, I do wish I attended more of those school-wide events. They turned out to be tons of fun, especially since my friends were there with me.
School events can work similarly to clubs in the sense that they gather people together who are all on the same page.
You’re there to show your support for the school and have fun. It’s easy to get onboard with that!
Those events also present you with prime opportunities to mingle with people outside of your classes. Who knows, you may even find some new friends while you’re cheering for your school.
8. Help an Acquaintance Relax During a Stressful Time
Exam weeks are no fun.
When those times of the year roll around, you can find yourself stressing out about everything.
You’re worried about which topics will and will not be included in the test, how much time you’ll have to study for all your subjects, and that frightening prospect of failure is always looming.
Even if you’ve handled college life pretty well up to this point, you may start to run into trouble when exams are coming up.
Before you end up being swallowed whole by stress, take the time to take a deep breath and do your best to relax.
Sure, spending the bulk of your time studying is important, but your efforts will be naught if you get sick from worrying too much.
Your study partner may be having a hard time as well. If that’s the case, invite him/her to join you for some mindfulness exercises as you get ready for the examinations. Those exercises will help steady your mind as you prepare for the upcoming challenges.
Participating in those mindfulness exercises with an acquaintance could also deepen your bonds and lead to the formation of a genuine friendship.
9. Go Out after Your Exams
After studying deep into the night and working as hard as possible to pass your exams, you deserve a break. Going out too often during college is not a good idea, but there are certain times when it’s more than warranted.
Go join up with your fellow club members or co-workers and spend some time decompressing at a nearby restaurant. Heading out to dinner with your study or exercise partners is also not a bad move.
Ask around your class too as they may be planning for a party after exam week. You can probably join in and relax with the people who just went through the same academic challenges you did.
The reality is that you won’t be given plenty of chances to just have fun and stop worrying about school while you’re in college. Whenever you get those chances, it’s wise to make the most of them. They will help you make friends in community college.
Final Thoughts on Making Friends at a Community College
Here’s the truth: Making new friends as a student in community college is not always going to be easy. You must be willing to put yourself out there and invest time in others if you want those relationships to blossom.
Is all that effort worth it? Absolutely.
It doesn’t matter if you’ll only spend two years at community college. That is more than enough time for you to form lasting bonds with people who could end up sticking around for the rest of your life.
Follow the tips above and see that jumping on the opportunities to meet new people can work out very well for you.
Finally, if you need more resources to help you make new friends, check out these blog posts:
- 11 Ways to Make Great Friends as an Introvert
- 47 Best Places to Meet People & Make New Friend
- 15 Best Apps for Making New Friends